Consider the following from President Obama’s statement on Libya, delivered yesterday:
Good afternoon, everybody. Today I authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians. That action has now begun.
In this effort, the United States is acting with a broad coalition that is committed to enforcing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of the Libyan people. That coalition met in Paris today to send a unified message, and it brings together many of our European and Arab partners.
Note that part about “Arab partners” at the end. Now read this:
The head of the Arab League has criticized international strikes on Libya, saying they caused civilian deaths.
The Arab League’s support for a no-fly zone last week helped overcome reluctance in the West for action in Libya. The U.N. authorized not only a no-fly zone but also “all necessary measures” to protect civilians.
Amr Moussa says the military operations have gone beyond what the Arab League backed.
Of course, it is entirely possible–maybe even likely–that Amr Moussa was forced to say what he said in public, and that in private, he backs the actions of the Administration. He may have even told the Administration as much. But if this kind of public dissent from the Administration’s military policies had happened in regard to Iraq, while George W. Bush was President, there would be no end to the claims that we don’t have a true international coalition at our side, that we are inflaming the Arab street, and that we are being monstrously and monumentally unilateral in our actions.
Just something worth pointing out–especially to those who might still bitterly cling to the belief that the new boss is somehow very much different from the old boss.